Traditional Italian vs Specialty

For many businesses in the food and beverage industry, their menu is the most important decision that they will ever have to make. 

Although coffee shops and cafes aren’t the first types of businesses that usually come to mind when we think about the food and beverage industry as a whole, their menu-based decisions are just as important as those of a bistro or a fast-food restaurant. In fact, these menu-based choices that coffee shops and cafes are often faced with have the potential to be far more intricate than anything that a traditional restaurant would have to deal with.

For a successful menu, creating it is never going to be as simple as just including your favorite caffeinated beverages. Instead, there is a wide range of factors and influences that café owners have to take into consideration. One primary example is the choice between traditional Italian coffee and specialty coffee. 

Is there a clear cut difference between these two choices? 

Specialty Coffee

The Specialty Coffee Association of America defines “specialty coffee” as coffee beans that have been grown in specific geographic microclimates in order to produce unique flavor profiles. The classification of “specialty coffee” also extends to how the coffee is meticulously prepared, freshly roasted, and properly brewed. For example, Guerilla Coffee offers a range of specialty coffee.

Italian Coffee

Meanwhile, Italian coffee beans are defined by their roast. Italians tend to go for a medium-dark roast because it delivers all the qualities usually favoured in an espresso or a ristretto. Coffee beans roasted in Italy usually offer a bit more bitterness but little acidity with more body and length on the palate compared to lighter roasts. There are many brands of Italian coffees beans out there, and one we recommend is Caffè Cagliari.

Does The Distinction Begin At The Beans? 

Recently, there has been a lot of buzz surrounding this emerging subcategory of beans that is being referred to as “specialty coffee beans.” In contrast to this, the conventional coffee beans (i.e. the “non-specialty” coffee beans) are now often referred to as either “traditional”, “commercial”, or “standard” – depending on who you ask. 


So, what really is the difference here?

As the name suggests, specialty coffees tend to be more specific and are normally single-origin unblended coffees. Manufacturers will generally select specific beans that are ideal for specific brewing methods and then consequently market them with those specific purposes in mind. This means that if a coffee shop wants to go all-in on specialty coffee beans, they are going to need a diverse selection to accommodate their menu.

On the other hand, traditional coffees are now viewed as the jack-of-all-trades. What is meant by this is that these traditional coffees are seen as being suited for a wider variety of brewing methods and beverage types. 

However, with that being said, this does not mean that they are going to be a “one size fits all” solution for any coffee shop’s needs. There are other factors to consider, such as the type of coffee machine that you own, roast level, blend, flavors, and even origin. Read more on 6 Tips To Start A Cafe


Does Roast Level Matter?

Traditional and specialty coffees can both have roasts that range from light to dark. 

The stereotype that many people are used to is that traditional coffees are supposed to fall into the medium roast category – that is, either true medium roast or medium-dark roast as medium roasts are viewed as having the most flexibility and usefulness in cafes. However, this is not the case.

Here are some examples of the different types of brewing that usually work best with the different roast levels:

  • Light Roast – Pour-Over
  • Medium Roast – Cold Brew
  • Medium-Dark Roast – Espresso, French Press
  • Dark Roast – Espresso, French Press

These roast levels also have several subcategories or aliases – which can also vary based on location – here are some examples:

  • Light roasts – Half City, Light City, Cinnamon
  • Medium/Medium-Dark roasts – American, City, Breakfast, Full City
  • Dark roasts – Continental, French, Italian, High


The Rise Of The Third Wave Coffee Movement

As mentioned above, specialty coffee also takes into account “proper” brewing. So, what does this mean? Are the beverages that are created from these so-called specialty coffees better than their traditional counterparts? 

Where does traditional Italian coffee fit into all of this?

Traditional Italian coffee has its roots in the first wave and the second wave of coffee. The first wave was focused on providing consumers with affordable and accessible cups of coffee. The second wave was in full swing during the 1970s and was centered around the exemplification of global flavor profiles, particularly the competition between Brazilian and Colombian coffee producers. 

Today the third wave is being led equally by manufacturers and consumers, with the primary focus being high-quality, specialty coffee. Many advocates of the third wave coffee movement have a desire for coffee to be treated as an artisanal food (like wine or cheese).

In this context, when people talk about “traditional Italian” coffee, they are talking about the espressos, moka pot, and more, that are brewed the “traditional” way. There is a noticeable focus on simplicity while still brewing a high-quality beverage.


So Does This Mean That Speciality Is Better?

All things considered, there is no clear cut response as to which is better, traditional Italian or specialty. The fact of the matter is that the answer will differ on a case by case basis. Here are some of the primary ways that they are different:

  1. Traditional is more forgiving; Speciality is more particular.
  2. Traditional is generally more affordable; Speciality has the potential to be higher-priced.
  3. Traditional is still viewed as being commonplace; Speciality is considered to be artisan or luxury.

In addition to this, it is also worth noting that there is still a large and consistent market for traditional Italian coffee – regardless of where your cafe is located. On the other hand, the demand for specialty coffee can vary based on location but cafe owners can expect to see a higher reactive demand for this type of coffee in metropolitan areas.

So what do I go for?


Come chat with us

The reality is that finding the right coffee fit for your cafe can indeed be a long process. Our Quality Assurance team is available to guide you along this process to make it as painless as possible. If you are thinking of starting a new cafe, in the middle of running one, or about to open your next amazing concept, there will be a need to tap on our knowledge and abilities. The earlier we can help, the more impact we can create for your coffee programme. 

Every solution is unique. Come have a chat with us today.

The Rise of Automation

The Rise Of Fully Auto Machines In Specialty Cafes: Is A Fully Automatic Espresso Machine The Best Choice For Your Cafe?

The world that we live in is becoming increasingly fast-paced. As a result, businesses now have to make use of technological advancements to keep up with the shorter attention spans and busier lifestyles of their customers. 

For many cafes and coffee shops, this means the adoption of Fully Automatic Coffee Machines to help meet these needs.

Fully Automatic Coffee Machines will grind your beans, brew your coffee and froth your milk for you. Although on the pricier side, they are quick and convenient and can produce a barista-style coffee on par with some Semi-Automatic Coffee Machines. 


Let’s take a closer look at which technology In Fully Automatic Coffee Machines gave rise to this trend.

On the surface, Fully Automatic Coffee Machines and Semi-Automatic Coffee Machines may actually look similar. However, there are key factors and components that set these two types of espresso machines apart and allow them to fit into different niches to ultimately meet the needs of different consumers.

In short, to differentiate between these two types of coffee machines, the most important factor that you should keep in mind is that a Fully Automatic Coffee Machines is often viewed as a “one-touch” system for brewing. This means that it is expected to have features like integrated grinding and tamping – as well as also (in most cases) milk frothing and steaming.


The Rise Of Fully Automatic Espresso Machines

The rise of Fully Automatic Coffee Machines can be attributed to three main factors: rapid modernization, fast-paced living, and a decline in the market for “luxury” coffee.

In this case, the aspect of rapid modernizations is fairly straightforward. Fully Automatic Coffee Machines weren’t as popular in the past because technology had yet to advance far enough to make them on par with the alternative methods that were out there – nowadays, this isn’t the case. 

With less time for leisure in the hectic world now, it is simply faster to use a Fully Automatic Coffee Machine. Plus, nowadays this is simply not true and there are many Fully Automatic Coffee Machines on the market that are capable of producing high-quality espressos.

Today, there is an endless list of Fully Automatic Coffee Machines to choose from – with new ones also being introduced every year. It can be confusing for new buyers to sift through the never-ending sea of average (and subpar) espresso machines to find the true high-quality gems. 

Here are some of our recommendations:

1. La Cimbali S15

Experience how much flexible and smart is the new S15 fully automatic machine. S15 is designed to guarantee a wide and even more customizable beverages menu, besides higher boiler’s capacity. Intuitive and professional, an ideal solution for locations that requires medium-low daily capacity. Bi-directional Telemetry on board (IoT Connectivity | Cimbali Connectivity).

2. Saeco Royal OTC

This OTC version even has everything you need to manage fresh milk automatically. The brewing unit, professional internal components and steel conical blades are wear-proof, the coffee dispenser can be set at different heights, and maintenance is simple and quick as the coffee brewing unit can be removed and washed.

3. La Cimbali S30

Thanks to the innovative technical solutions that have always made the La Cimbali machines cutting-edge products, preparing espresso coffee-based drinks will be simple and intuitive, every day. S30 has a 10.4” touchscreen display, customisable images on the machine display and sounds to help the customer choose their drink. You can also communicate with the S30 remotely making it quick and easy to upgrade software and adjust recipes. 

Fully Automatic Coffee Machines vs Semi-Automatic Coffee Machines – Is There A Clear Winner?

The simple answer to this question is: “No, there isn’t a clear-cut winner in the ongoing battle between the Fully Automatic and Semi-Automatic Coffee Machines.” 

The truth is, Fully Automatic Coffee Machines and  Semi-Automatic Coffee Machines both have their own unique set of benefits that can potentially make them appealing to different people. 

For some, Semi-Automatic Coffee Machines are usually the preferred choice. This is because Semi-Automatic Coffee Machines have the potential to give baristas a more precise control over the taste and quality of the coffee that they are serving. However, Semi-Automatic Coffee Machines can only have this “potential” given that the baristas themselves have a certain level of skill to make this possible. Some may say that they are not willing to gain a boost to their efficiency and productivity by using Fully Automatic Coffee Machines if it means having to sacrifice the overall quality of the espressos that they are serving to their valued customers. 

Fully Automatic Coffee Machines have often been stereotyped as the go-to choice for coffee shop owners who are willing to compromise on the overall process of crafting an espresso in exchange for increased productivity, efficiency, and ease of use. However, with technological advancements that have been made to the newer Fully Automatic Coffee Machines, it is also increasingly being seen in more cafes as well.


Come chat with us

We have many ways to help our customers keep up with the times. Our technology can play a key role in improving the customer experience. From fully automatic to semi-automatic coffee machines, we have a full range of machines for every requirement.